Prof. Dr. Chris-Carolin Schön


Plant Breeding

Academic Career and Research Areas

The research of Prof. Schön is focused on the optimization of agricultural processes through the integration of molecular biology technologies. This primarily involves the use of molecular markers in breeding crop plants. Her work is also concerned with the characterization of native biodiversity and the identification of its functional characteristics as well as the development of optimized breeding strategies for complex properties.

Prof. Schön (b. 1963) studied agricultural sciences at Hohenheim University and Oregon State University, USA. After receiving her doctorate, she worked at KWS SAAT AG, after which she served as Director of the State Plant Breeding Institute at Hohenheim University, where she completed her postdoctoral studies in the field of plant breeding in 2006. She has held a full professorship at TUM since 2007. Prof. Schön is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the German Academy of Science and Engineering acatech. She played a leadership role in establishing Synbreed, an interdisciplinary network for genome-based breeding research on plants and animals.


  • Honorary doctorate, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf (2024)
  • Bavarian Order of Merit (2018)
  • Max Schönleutner Medal (2016)
  • Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Medal of TUM (2009)

Hölker AC, Mayer M, Presterl T, Bauer E, Ouzunova M, Melchinger AE, Schön CC: “Theoretical and experimental assessment of genome-based prediction in landraces of allogamous crops”. PNAS. 2022; 119 (18) e2121797119.


Mayer M, Hölker AC, González-Segovia E, Bauer E, Presterl T, Ouzunova M, Melchinger AE, Schön CC: “Discovery of beneficial haplotypes for complex traits in maize landraces”. Nature Communications. 2020; 11: 4954. 


Haberer G, Kamal N, Bauer E, Gundlach H, Fischer I, Seidel MA, Spannagl M, Marcon C, Ruban A, Urbany C, Nemri A, Hochholdinger F, Ouzunova M, Houben A, Schön CC, Mayer KFX: “European maize genomes highlight intraspecies variation in repeat and gene content”. Nature Genetics. 2020; 52: 950.


Bauer E, Falque M, Walter H, Bauland C, Camisan C, Campo L, Meyer N, Ranc N, Rincent R, Schipprack W, Altmann T, Flament P, Melchinger AE, Menz M, Moreno-González J, Ouzunova M, Revilla P, Charcosset A, Martin OC, Schön CC: “Intraspecific variation of recombination rate in maize". Genome Biology. 2013; 14: R103.


Wimmer V, Lehermeier C, Albrecht T, Auinger HJ, Wang Y, Schön CC: “Genome-wide prediction of traits with different genetic architecture through efficient variable selection“. Genetics. 2013; 195: 573-587.